Archive for July 15, 2010

“Rough Cut” version of “Making Software” now available

Greg Wilson and Andy Oram’s new book Making Software is now available in a “rough cuts” version:  It’s in “pre-final” stage, and I understand that not all the chapters are there yet.  But the chapter I wrote on why programming is hard to learn is there, as well as some other chapters on topics related to this blog like on impacts of expertise and personality on software development, pair programming, comparisons of programming languages, and variations in programmer productivity.

July 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm 2 comments

UC must put emphasis on education, not brand

Op-Ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle chooses one side of a hard problem.  When economic times are bad, it seems like a great time to explore ways of improving access to learning for a broader range of students.  On the other hand, the points in the piece are well-taken.  Our track record in on-line higher education in the US is poor.  Why should California pay to educate non-Californian students?  Where goes the teaching and research synergy (if it exists) in on-line learning?

The UC Board of Regents will discuss this week a proposal by the University of California president’s office for an ambitious plan to market UC online. The proposal entertains the vision of an eventual online bachelor’s degree that could tap new students throughout the world, from “Sheboygan to Shanghai.”

In fact, the track record for online higher education is very uneven. It requires enormous up-front investments and continual investments for upgrades. Given these high stakes and the financial pressures on UC in the current economic climate, it is crucial for California’s public university to move prudently.

via UC must put emphasis on education, not brand.

July 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm 3 comments

CMU launches robot-based CS-STEM Program

CMU won the DARPA award to address the “geek shortage” that was discussed in Wired magazine a few months ago.  I had heard that they were going to use their RobotC language, but instead it sounds like they’re going to extend Alice. That’s promising!  Looking forward to see what they produce!

A new four-year, $7 million educational initiative by Carnegie Mellon University will leverage students’ innate interest in robots and other forms of “hard fun” to increase U.S. enrollments in computer science and steer more young people into scientific and technological careers.

The initiative, called Fostering Innovation through Robotics Exploration (FIRE), is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and designed to reverse a significant national decline in the number of college students majoring in computer science, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (CS-STEM).

via July 13: Carnegie Mellon Launches $7 Million Initiative Using Robots To Boost Science, Technology Majors – Carnegie Mellon University.

July 15, 2010 at 10:38 am 2 comments

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